Production services surf on volcanic surge of activity
by Annika Pham
21/04/2010 - As Europe struggles to reopen air traffic affected by the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajoekull, which has stranded millions of people since April 15, local film professionals are ironically enjoying an unexpected business bonanza from foreign TV crews sent on location to catch hot images of the volcano.
The cash-strapped Icelanders have found new money-making opportunities in the ash cloud that has disrupted air traffic for the last week. Kjartan Thor Thordarson, CEO of Saga Film, one of Iceland’s top local film and TV production companies, was delighted by the unexpected upturn of activity for its production services. He said: “For the duration of the eruption, our service teams and post-production department have been busy servicing international news crews reporting from Iceland to the world. To date, Saga Film has serviced several crews, including ABC News, ARD, Al-Jazeera and various other local TV channels from around Europe.
“We are also producing two documentaries that will be directly connected to the eruption, one about the Icelandic rescue teams that are involved in all evacuation and cleanup operations after the floods and the ashes that have damaged farms and farmlands around the volcano. The second documentary is about Iceland’s most famous photographer, Ragnar Axelsson (RAX). Our crew has followed him everywhere in his quest to shoot the perfect image of the eruption.
“There must be at least 15-20 news crews on location right now and we expect more to come when flights resume from Europe. We will be keeping our 24-hour production service line open while demand is high and equipment is available,” concluded Thordarson.
Laufey Guðjónsdóttir, head of the Icelandic Film Centre, also welcomed the surge of activity for local filmmakers and producers assisting foreign crews. However, she acknowledged that a prolongation of the volcanic eruption would eventually hurt the country’s economy and make all public financing even more difficult. “We hope for the best,” she said.